How To Clean Your Debit And Credit Cards

How To Clean Your Debit And Credit Cards

There’s a certain list of things we routinely clean, but your debit and credit cards probably aren’t on that list — but they should be! It’s easy and can greatly extend the life of your card.

Photo by ohadweb.

You might be wondering why you should bother, but if you’ve gone cardless for a few days while waiting on a replacement, the extra step of cleaning your cards can go a long way toward preventing such a hiccup.

All you need is an eraser and a damp towel. Wipe the card clean with the towel to remove any grimey build up deposited onto your card from your wallets or card reader machines. It’s not something that gets extra dirty, but the small particles when compacted with continuous swiping/use can rub off the magnetic strip holding your card’s information.

Next take the eraser and gently erase/rub the magnetic strip on the back. It will remove any gunk that’s built up over time. This trick also works with old-school cartridge-based gaming systems, just in case you really have the urge to play some NES Duck Hunt.

Got your own methods for successfully cleaning off your grimy credit card and getting more mileage out of it — at least while you’re waiting for a replacement? Sound off in the comments.


  • Depending on how clean the machine is kept, some of them won’t read the strip easily, and I guess rubbing it clean with an eraser is better then watching ur card get rubbed up and down a store keepers trousers trying to get it clean enough for the machine to read it. ,

  • No, I’m with them Grant. I work for Suncorp, and the amount of people that we get needing replacement cards cause theirs won’t swipe anymore is astronomical

  • Who needs to clean their cards these days? The bank is replacing all mine for free! It’s great!

    Apparently some guys used something called a ‘skimmer’. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t mind!

    Maybe some helpful hints in at-point-of-sale security would be a good follow up post?

  • I’ve worked in retail for many years and the amount of bastards that come in with cards so filthy they leave your hands feeling soiled is enormous.
    Oh, and apparently it’s then my problem when their card won’t swipe. P*ss off! Don’t give me that look! Why is your card so dirty? Do you live in a hovel? Do you burrow at night?? Dude, have some self-respect and realise that handing over a rancid EFTPOS card is like telling me you eat your own snot.
    And don’t bad-mouth me to your girlfriend on your way out of the store. She looks about as filthy as a disease-ridden stray.

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